Saturday, October 22, 2011

Banana Pecan-Streusel Bread Pudding with Butter-Rum Sauce

Oh my goodness, what a mouthful of a name! Maybe I should have posted the rum sauce separately? It is definitely good enough to be a stand alone glaze; it would be good on ice cream alone, on poached fruit, or even cinnamon rolls... hmmm :)
One of my favorite restaurants is "K'ya" in Laguna Beach. They serve fun small plates so you can try several dishes from their dynamic menu. One of my favorite dishes is their Lobster Truffle Risotto... I will have to play around in my kitchen and figure out how to copy it so that I can share it with you.
However, K'ya also has one of my all time favorite desserts: Banana Pecan Bread Pudding. I LOVE bread pudding, but the first time I ate at K'ya, I didn't order it because I was bummed about the banana pecan part- HA! How foolish I was... when I finally tried it, a few visits later, I couldn't believe I had ever turned it down. They used to serve it with a rum sauce, but now they sometimes serve it with a different one.
I may not have figured out the risotto yet, but the bread pudding I have most definitely come up with a great way to recreate at home and I am excited to share it with you :) We even kicked it up a notch with a pecan-streusel topping! ('we' because that was actually Peter's idea!)

Whenever we go away on vacation or even just a weekend, it has become a tradition that I make banana bread when we return home. It's too perfect, buy bananas before you leave; come home and they are nice and over-ripe for making banana bread!

Last weekend, Peter and I went to visit San Luis Obispo...
(*side note: we stayed with our friends Matt & Alexa, and I must share her awesome etsy site with you! I love her beachy chic style!)
Anyway, when Peter and I got home from SLO, I made banana bread, of course. We enjoyed some toasty banana bread with breakfast the next morning. However, on our way home from work that night, Peter asked if I could try to recreate the K'ya banana bread pudding. We got overly excited and Peter got carried away with ideas of a crunchy top, and ice cream, and... I just LOVED the excuse to play in my kitchen! When we got home, I did some quick research and went to work :)

The nutty crunch on top complemented the dense, moist, sweetness inside. And the rum sauce...ooooh, it just made it all gooey and warm, and added yet another layer of flavor! One thing's for sure; this is a RICH dessert. We enjoyed ours with a side of vanilla ice cream and a tall glass of milk :)

Recipe: (for 2 large inidividual ramekin servings)

Bread Pudding:
  • 8 oz (1 cup) fat free evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ Tbsp Vanilla
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 thick slices of banana bread (about ¼ loaf banana bread), cubed and toasted or stale
Pecan Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon AP Flour
  • a few dashes Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, halved or chopped
Butter-Rum Sauce: (makes more than you need for bread pudding, but you can store the rest for another use, or cut the recipe in half)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/3 cup white granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 cup Fat Free Milk
  • 3 Tablespoons Rum

First make the bread pudding custard mixture by mixing together the evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. 

Make sure your bread cubes are toasted: 

Then soak the toasted bread cubes in custard mixture: 

Transfer to buttered or sprayed ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan to catch drippings.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Do NOT put the bread pudding in the oven yet. Instead, let the bread soak in the ramekins while the oven is preheating and while you mix the pecan streusel topping....

Streusel topping:
Melt ½ tablespoon of butter in a bowl, add 2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar, 1 Tbsp AP flour,  a few dashes of cinnamon, and ¼ cup chopped pecans. Stir together well.
Cover top of bread-filled ramekins with pecan streusel topping:

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes. While bread pudding is cooling, start the rum sauce…

Butter Rum Sauce:
in a small saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp corn starch together into the butter at the same time. 

Stir immediately until well mixed. –the result will look somewhat like a salt scrub

Let it cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds
Add 1 cup milk, stir well until all is dissolved together (15 seconds)

Increase heat to medium-high, and stir frequently as it starts to thicken and comes to a boil. (about 3 minutes)
It will boil and froth and increase in volume. Continue to stir. 

The sauce will eventually decrease in volume again as you stir, and it will become a slightly-thick liquid glaze consistency. (another 3 minutes)
Remove from heat and stir in 3 Tbsp rum. Let it sit for a few minutes, it will continue to thicken as it cools.

If you don’t allow both the sauce and the bread pudding to sit and cool for about 5-10 minutes, then the hot sauce will just run and melt right off of the steaming bread pudding right away.
Didn't wait long enough here... I waited for it to cool a little more, and then it was perfect:

Pour rum sauce over slightly cooled bread pudding. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream and a glass of cold milk. ENJOY!

LOOK at that ooey-gooey middle with the sweet crunchy top...

...and that sauce just tantalizingly dripping down!

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